The Ross County Probate and Juvenile Court's delinquent fees and fines will now be handled through the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Changes have been made to the way delinquent fees and fines will be handled in the Ross County Probate and Juvenile Court. Judge Richard Ward says the court has become part of a free program through the Ohio Attorney General's Office to collect about $450,000 in delinquent payments.
"Some of these fines are over a year or more old, and parties involved have repeatedly failed to honor the pay agreement," Ward said.
"Due to the large amount of money, I felt that it was time to take stronger action to recover what is owed to the citizens of this county."
Through the program, the court will send a computer-generated listing of those with late payments to the Attorney General's Office, which will issue letters to those owing money and require payment. If those delinquent do not pay the amount in full, then the Attorney General will collect funds by halting tax returns and lottery winnings from these individuals. During the collection, an additional 35% is also added to the amount owed.
Judge Ward estimates it will take a month for the program to begin.
"In order to avoid the additional costs, it would probably be a good idea for those affected to get the fees and fines paid in full, " he said.
The court will continue its Debtor Exams and allow the parties to sign pay agreements, but those who do not honor those agreements will be placed into the Attorney General's Program after the first missed payment.